TRENTON – A Republican state senator wants to make sure that any New Jersey shore community that accepts government funds for rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy will provide free public beach access.
“Public dollars must be spent for the maximum benefit of all citizens,” state Sen. Michael J. Doherty said. “I do not dispute that our shoreline must be rebuilt or that the communities impacted need assistance, but the state and federal funds that will be used to rebuild come from everyone, not just those who live or own property at the shore.”
Doherty (R- Warren/Hunterdon/Somerset) intends to submit legislation that will require any shore communities accepting state or federal funding for rebuilding and restoration purposes to provide the general public with free beach access, and restroom facilities free of charge. He believes that beach access fees are an unfair barrier to all citizens enjoying the public resources they pay to maintain and restore.
“I’ve long believed that the state’s beach tag system unfairly limits access to a public resource which has been the beneficiary of a great deal of state and federal investment,” Doherty continued. “The damage done by Hurricane Sandy simply illustrates this point on an unprecedented scale. The Jersey Shore is a state treasure and an important economic engine, but it is a resource that belongs to all of us and is maintained by the taxes that all of us pay.”
Doherty’s legislation is in the process of being drafted.